DANGER! The manufacturers have made it clear that they stand by the hotly disputed verdict completed Ben Chan’s recent winning streak.
The fan favorite contestant lost after spelling “Final Jeopardy!” correctly. Answer with a single wrong letter.
In the latest episode of his podcast Inside Jeopardy!New executive producer Michael Davies took the time to discuss the verdict.
Davies began: “For me, this was one of those moments where I knew enough about certain categories.”
“My brother was an English literary scholar at Cambridge. I know a great deal about alternative spellings in his sheets and various productions and reproductions over time.
“The moment it happened, I turned to Billy [Wisse]our head writer, and I said, ‘Are we good?’ Benedick – isn’t that right?’
“And he said, ‘Yeah, 100 percent, it’s the original in the sheets’ — bam.”
From then on, Davies said the judges were confident enough to find Ben wrong, even as he investigated further.
“It was a great moment”
“I was still concerned enough afterwards, because with a simple online search – and so we’re not looking for a general answer to anything – I saw ‘Benedikt’ often enough in certain publications.”
“Nothing that’s formal or serious, but I’ve seen it so many times that I thought, okay, that’s a question.”
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“We assembled a group of scientists, got their opinions and then made a verdict.”
“Ultimately, the verdict was made on the simple basis that the references we used in Jeopardy! and which we’ve always used in Jeopardy, all consistently refer to that character as Benedick and not Benedict.”
“But you know we got along with the staff afterwards. We knew this was a big moment. He’s a great player. It was a big moment in the final.” [Jeopardy!].
But I’m very sure. I think we know we did the right thing.”
Davies and longtime producer Sarah Foss admitted fans called the verdict “controversial” and praised Ben as a “power player” who they would love to have back at the Tournament of Champions in September.
‘SORRY THIS IS NOT CORRECT’
Danger! Viewers were shocked last week when Ben’s untouchable nine-day run overcame host Mayim Bialik’s “incredibly tough” decision.
Ben met Lynn Di Vito, a retired museum educator, and Danny Leserman, a political communications manager at the time.
Ben, who is from Green Bay, Wisconsin, can say that he was the first Jeopardy! With nine consecutive top wins, he is the best competitor of all time.
Having nine sure wins through Final Jeopardy is such a rare feat that fans didn’t expect him to go anywhere any time soon.
Ben also returned to the game show earlier this month after ending his hit streak due to contracting Covid-19 on episodes that aired in April, leaving some fans confused to see him again.
Before Final Jeopardy, Ben had $17,400, Lynn – who got the second daily double right – was right behind with $14,800 and Danny had $2,400.
Final Jeopardy, in the Shakespearean Characters category, read: “Both these two lovers’ names in a Shakespearean play come from Latin words for ‘blessed’.”
Danny wrote down “Romeo and Juliet,” which was deemed incorrect, as did Lynn – she didn’t complete “Juliet” even though Mayim spelled it out in full, and bet $3,000 so she had 11,800.
Mayim finally reached out to Ben, who revealed that he was “Beatrice &
Benedict Benedikt”, cross out the first “Benedikt”, but write it the same way the second time.
After a short pause, Mayim decided it was wrong: “Unfortunately, that’s not correct. The right answer [is] Beatrice and Benedict.”
“Much ado about nothing,” Mayim concluded – but she didn’t elaborate on the explanation of the verdict.
Ben announced he had bet $12,201 and ended up on the podium disappointed as he stayed in second place with $5,199.
The verdict sparks anger
Accordingly Jeopardy!.com: “Written Answers to the Final Jeopardy! Note need not be spelled correctly, but they must be phonetically correct and not add or remove extraneous sounds or syllables.”
Unhappy with Ben’s punishment for what he wrote, fans took to Twitter to vent their anger. Many debated whether Ben’s answer actually changed the pronunciation enough that it was wrong.
“Terrible decision against Ben Chan in today’s #Jeopardy,” one person wrote.
“Since when does it count in the bottom line to be a letter off? “There’s no other character he could have meant,” another person pointed out.
“@Jeopardy wow. Ben Chan loses at??????” wrote a third.
“I can’t believe @Jeopardy lost a contestant for writing ‘Beatrice and Benedict’ instead of ‘Benedick.’ I’m not even that picky and I’m a Shakespearean professor,” wrote a fourth.
“Obviously they knew what he was up to and still ended his run due to a terrible form error. #jeopardy”
A fifth wrote: “That was weird. I played it over and over and couldn’t understand/hear the difference.”
A sixth person sided with the show: “Oof, what a heartbreaking way for Ben to lose. However, I think it was the right decision.”
“I was so close”
Ben wrote on Reddit that he was also behind the Jeopardy! stand.
“1: Benedict is wrong. The character’s name is Benedick. As Ken (predictively) noted in my first episode, there is no partial credit for Jeopardy! (Yes, I was that close!)”
“2. I made some bad flashcards. The misspelling of “Benedict” is common and has affected some of my flashcards.”
He also tweeted, “Soooo… if we could go back in time maybe the judges could have approved ‘Benedict’ as a historically acceptable alternative form of the name.”
“But that wouldn’t be necessary, because I would just write the undeniably correct answer: ‘Benedick!'”
“I forgot one very important thing: my wife knew it was Benedick.”
The greatest danger! Chef – a Brit – took over the job in 2021 after being ousted from Mike Richards, who made sexist comments and nominated himself from within to succeed Alex Trebek as host.
Since becoming an EP, Davies has chosen Mayim and Ken Jennings to host the show and has just finished the extremely well received Masters special.